Happy Friday,

Welcome to the end of another week and a new edition of The Spin. Today we're seeing how Burberry's aim to upgrade has already backfired, checking out the mixed signals in US retail and examining the curious case of a retailer whose political correctness may in fact be entirely manufactured. Enjoy the read and have a wonderful weekend. Best, Christopher


Burberry's best-laid plans. Although Burberry reported a 26 percent increase in half-year profit to £128 million and a 4 percent increase in like-for-like sales yesterday, its shares plummeted 10 percent, the biggest drop in five years, after new CEO Marco Gobbetti announced that the brand will amp up its luxury factor by selling more expensive items and pulling out of some of its "non-luxury" wholesale and retail locations. The company plans to spend up to £210 million per year to complete the overhaul.



Nebulous numbers. Third quarter results posted by four major US department stores yesterday were a mixed bag (paywall) of improvement and decline that made for a murky overall picture. Comparable sales fell 3.6 percent at Macy's but income rose to $34 million from $15 million. Nordstrom's sales earnings were $114 million as opposed to a $10 million loss last year but it lowered its outlook for the year. Net sales at Kohl's were up $.01 billion to $4.33 billion but net income was down $29 million to $117 million. And although both sales and profits were down at Dillard's the results were not as bad as analysts had predicted.


Drexler's directness. The state of retail is not a mystery to Mickey Drexler, the former CEO and current chairman of J.Crew, however. Speaking at a New York Times' DealBook conference yesterday he said, "Things have been miserable in retail" and that the last few years "have not been fun whatsoever." He also said that he tried to sell J.Crew to Amazon but was unable to reach a deal.

Parental visit. Speaking of Amazon, the online giant said yesterday that it will open Amazon pop-up stores in five locations of its newly purchased Whole Foods division for the holidays. These shop-in-grocery-shops will be manned by Amazon employees who will encourage customers to test Amazon devices and sign up for special services such as Amazon Prime.


Lauding Lee. Womenswear designer Dion Lee won Australia's top fashion prize, the Fashion Laureate, yesterday at a ceremony that also celebrated the award's tenth anniversary. Known for his technical yet sensual collections, 32-year-old Lee is the youngest recipient of the honor. Now based in New York, he launched his eponymous label at age 23.


Employee equality. Fashion names such as Nordstrom, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and Coach were among the 30 retailers who received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in its just released 2018 Corporate Index, which ranks companies based on the workplace equality they offer to LBGTQ employees. Other industry names scoring a 100 included Levi's and PVH. The report rated 609 businesses overall.

Body positive? UK-based retailer Missguided received an outpouring of love and support on social media this week after it showed models with visible stretch marks and announced that it would no longer airbrush so-called "flaws" in order to inspire confidence in young women. Now, however, its PC support of the body-positive movement is being questioned by some who are accusing it of a kind of reverse retouching and purposely adding the marks with Photoshop.

Offending images. Another fashion company is causing a social outcry: Some in Australia calling the life-size ads of lingerie chain Honey Birdette "soft porn" and are demanding their removal from store windows. Almost 23,000 people have signed a petition to take down the images, which portray women in red bras and panties frolicking amongst men men in suits at a company Christmas party. The company has called the claims "ridiculous."


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